From Research to Reality: Minimizing the Effects of Hospitalization on Older Adults
Hanna Admi, Efrat Shadmi, Hagar Baruch, and Anna ZisbergAbstract
This review examines ways to decrease preventable effects of hospitalization on older adults in acute care medical (non-geriatric) units, with a focus on the Israeli experience at the Rambam Health Care Campus, a large tertiary care hospital in northern Israel. Hospitalization of older adults is often followed by an irreversible decline in functional status affecting their quality of life and well-being after discharge. Functional decline is often related to avoidable effects of in-hospital procedures not caused by the patient’s acute disease. In this article we review the literature relating to the recognized effects of hospitalization on older adults, pre-hospitalization risk factors, and intervention models for hospitalized older adults. In addition, this article describes an Israeli comprehensive research study, the Hospitalization Process Effects on Functional Outcomes and Recovery (HoPE-FOR), and outlines the design of a combined intervention model being implemented at the Rambam Health Care Campus. The majority of the reviewed studies identified preadmission personal risk factors and psychosocial risk factors. In-hospital restricted mobility, under-nutrition care, the over-use of continence devices, polypharmacy, and environmental factors were also identified as avoidable processes. Israeli research supported the findings that preadmission risk factors together with in-hospital processes account for functional decline. Different models of care have been developed to maintain functional status. Much can be achieved by interdisciplinary teams oriented to the needs of hospitalized elderly in making an impact on hospital processes and continuity of care. It is the responsibility of health care policy-makers, managers, clinicians, and researchers to pursue effective interventions to reduce preventable hospitalization-associated disability.
Rambam Maimonides Med J 2015;6(2):e0017